Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 6th Sep 2018 23:34 UTC

"People have a really hard time understanding URLs," says Adrienne Porter Felt, Chrome's engineering manager. "They're hard to read, it's hard to know which part of them is supposed to be trusted, and in general I don't think URLs are working as a good way to convey site identity. So we want to move toward a place where web identity is understandable by everyone - they know who they're talking to when they're using a website and they can reason about whether they can trust them. But this will mean big changes in how and when Chrome displays URLs. We want to challenge how URLs should be displayed and question it as we're figuring out the right way to convey identity."

Judging by the reactions across the web to this news, I'm going to have the minority opinion by saying that I'm actually a proponent of looking at what's wrong with the status quo so we can try to improve it. Computing is actually an incredibly conservative industry, and far too often the reaction to "can we do this better?" is "no, because it's always been that way".

That being said, I'm not a fan of such an undertaking in this specific case being done by a for-profit, closed entity such as Google. I know the Chromium project is open source, but it's effectively a Google project and what they decide goes - an important effort such as modernizing the URL scheme should be an industry-wide effort.

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RE: Display URLs better?
by ssokolow on Fri 7th Sep 2018 04:01 UTC in reply to "Display URLs better?"
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I'd say that while people understand the whole .com part of URLs, there's difficulty in dealing with the whole slash-this-slash-that part.

Essentially, URLs are hierarchical directory listings. For example, I like the way that Microsoft made the file paths in Windows an interactive breadcrumb list.

Imagine a similar functionality where you could find a section of a website without even touching the actual page. The website could provide some sort of modified site map for the browser to read:

"You are here: [OSNews] > [Stories] > [2018]"

To get to the 2017 list, you just click on [2018] and pick [2017].

Or what about about clicking "[OSNews] > [Search:]" and entering your query at the end?

Just a thought.

The sad thing is, that was envisioned early on and some browsers had a bank of first/prev/up/next/last buttons equivalent to structured document viewers.

The "first", "last", "index", and "up" values for the "rel" attribute are gone in HTML 5, but "prev" and "next" still exist and a well-structured URL gives a natural way to intuit "up".

As for search, that's already there in some form. Visit a site with OpenSearch metadata (eg. a WordPress blog) and then, at a later date, type the domain name into Chrome's address bar. A "Press [Tab] to search [domain name]" hint will appear on the right end of the address bar.

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